Exe-rated runners!

Exe-rated runners!
The successful Harriers team, en masse, at the Erme Valley Relays, July 2013

Friday, 24 August 2012

It's time to 'Race the Train' again for Hugh and Dawn

It's mid-August and for Harriers duo Hugh Marsden and Dawn Teed that can only mean one thing: it's time to jump in the car and head to Wales to take part in the annual 'Race the Train' event.

This race is what it says on the tin!

Held at the town of Tywyn in mid Wales, this race follows the Talyllyn railway as runners race a steam train out and then back again, covering a total distance of 14 miles. (Though there are shorter race distance options as well, the main 14 mile race is the blue ribband event).

Alongside a railway line? Must be a fairly flat course then right? Easy. Er.... not quite. Whilst the gradient might not be steep, the difficulty of this event lies in the nature of the terrain, which is boggy (particularly so this year with all the rain), slippery and uneven, being all off-road, and which sees runners negotiating some tricky cambers, styles and rutted narrow pathways.

Dawn and Hugh are no stranger to this route though and know exactly what to expect from it. They often incorporate a short break with the race and make a weekend of it and they usually make their mark on the field by running hard, competitive races.

Last year Hugh managed to beat the train and also placed 1st MV50 overall, in what is always a top quality field. And this year? Well, he managed to do the same again. He beat the train by 10 minutes exactly as he stormed home in 1:38:44 for 29th place overall and 1st MV50. He even beat the Eryri Harrier's athlete, Arwel Lewis, in this category, whom I know well as I worked with him in Bangor University, and believe me, he is one very talented, committed and tough runner, so this is quite a scalp for our Hugh to take!

Dawn Teed also had a successful run. Not many female athletes manage to beat the train - only 7 managed it in this year's race - and so that would never have been top of Dawn's agenda. She nevertheless is always competitive and places well up the field, especially in her age category. On this occasion she finished in 494th place overall in a time of 2:16:51. This was exactly 10 seconds quicker than last year (talk about consistent!) but in much wetter, tougher conditions, which was reflected in the fact that she placed 129 places higher than last year! Impressive stuff and showing that Dawn has worked as hard as ever to keep her fitness up over the past year.
Hugh - with no train in sight as he was well ahead of it!

There were 839 finishers with the last runner taking a sedate 4:14:00 to complete the out and back course, so Dawn and Hugh really did do the Harriers proud by placing so highly up the field! Well done to both.

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